Friday, 14 July 2006

Trace Element Differentiation in Soil Patterns Under Tropical Rainforest, the Role of Climatic Change.

Temgoua Emile, Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Agricultural Science, Univ of Dschang, PO Box 222, Dschang, Cameroon and Bitom Dieudonné, Earth Science Dept, Faculty of Science, Univ of Yaoundé1, PO Box 812, Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Regions under tropical rainforest cover, such as central Africa and Brazil are characterised by degradation and dismantling of old ferricrete structures. In southern Cameroon, these processes are relayed by present-day ferruginous accumulation soil facies, situated on the middle and the lower part of hill slopes. These facies become progressively harder towards the surface, containing from bottom to top, mainly kaolinite, kaolinite-goethite and Al-rich goethite-hematite, and are discontinuous to the relictic hematite-dominated ferricrete that exist in the upper part of the hill slope. These features were investigated in terms of geochemical differentiation of trace elements. It appears that, in contrast to the old ferricrete facies, the current ferruginous accumulations are enriched in transitional trace elements (V, Cr, Co, Y, Sc) and Pb, while alkali-earth elements are less differentiated. This recent chemical accumulation is controlled both by intense weathering of the granodiorite bedrock and by mobilisation of elements previously accumulated in the old ferricrete. The observed processes are clearly linked to the present-day humid climate with rising groundwater tables. They slowly replace the old ferricretes formed during Cretaceous time under more seasonal climatic conditions, representing an instructive case of continuos global change.

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